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Directing MFA for 2018 - Let's connect


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Well, this process has been utterly insane, but this morning I officially accepted at Brown University. I definitely did not anticipate this result. I walked into my callback last weekend 95% cer

Hey, gang! My application journey has finally reached the end--I've just accepted a spot at Boston University!  I'm still technically waiting for responses from two other schools where I had fina

@E. Karenina — if it helps, getting a few interviews and then being rejected from grad school during my first year that I applied was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time, it felt awfu

Whew, sorry for the radio silence—I’ve been catching up on life. 

I heard back and got into Columbia!! I haven’t accepted because I’m heading to Brown this weekend to check out their program and see if it’s a good fit—they just switched to a fully-funded model and their callback weekend has a really interesting structure.

Rejected from Yale, but not feeling too bad about it since I think ultimately it might not be the best fit, and am friends with the folks who got in, so am really stoked for them!

Congrats @MadamDirector and @E. Karenina!!! I’m so excited for you ?

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I'm back and done!

I heard back from my final school- it was a no. I was sad initially, but there was some wording in the 'no thanks' email that kind of put a sour taste in my mouth (don't want to get too specific but it included some things that were some pretty big misrepresentations of what I had said :mellow: as one of their reasons), which in turn kind of lessened the blow. 

I am super excited to where I am going, however! I walked out of that interview in December having felt challenged and engaged and like I could do really great work there. Because they work of rolling acceptances, I've already started talking to some of my cohort and I really can't wait for next fall, where I'll be at RCSSD's Advanced Theatre Practice MFA.

Now just have to wrap things up here in NYC, then back home to spend time with the family for the summer.

 

@Squidpunk congrats on Columbia! Hope Brown goes well too! :)

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Hi! I know that I've been silent for a bit but I wanted to chime in with the end of my journey and some learnings for folks who are thinking about applying next year. Congrats to folks on acceptances!

I ended up with callbacks at CMU, Northwestern, UTAustin, UCSD, and Virginia Tech.  The  CMU, Northwestern, UTAustin,  and UCSD callbacks were all in the same week, the week of Feb 18.  I happened to be doing a two week intensive to remount a show beginning that week so I did Northwestern on Monday, flew home for two days of rehearsal, went to UT Austin on Thursday, UCSD for 4 hours on Fri, and CMU on Sat. I was able to come into Northwestern a day early to explore the campus and see a show, I really wish I could have done that everywhere. 

Each callback was entirely unique.  I don't want to go into too much detail because I think part of the process is navigating all of the different styles of audition and deciding which one you feel most comfortable in- it seems like the callbacks say a lot about the programs.

At the end I got offers from CMU and Northwestern. Once the offers came I had a really quick turnaround to make my decision (about a week) and I found myself doing a lot of research really quickly about cities and financial possibilities that I wish I would have done earlier. Both of the offers I got were amazing, I took the offer at CMU- that program is really special, the callback was a blast. I withdrew my application at Virginia Tech, although I think that program is really special too.

I think the biggest thing I wish that I had known more about is the timeline-- I would never have chosen to do a show in the middle of Feb if I had known that all of the callbacks would be at that time.

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On 3/14/2018 at 4:41 PM, Theater Maker said:

 

At the end I got offers from CMU and Northwestern. Once the offers came I had a really quick turnaround to make my decision (about a week) and I found myself doing a lot of research really quickly about cities and financial possibilities that I wish I would have done earlier. Both of the offers I got were amazing, I took the offer at CMU- that program is really special, the callback was a blast. I withdrew my application at Virginia Tech, although I think that program is really special too.

 

So Caden didn't rub you the wrong way? I know from past interviews it's looked like a lot of people weren't as excited about CMU because of him. 

Edited by ctbck
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Just got a rejection from UT Austin. That's it for me for the year. And probably for Directing programs entirely. Got close at several great programs. That will have to do. Time to move on. Good luck and godspeed, everybody. 

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Well, this process has been utterly insane, but this morning I officially accepted at Brown University.

I definitely did not anticipate this result. I walked into my callback last weekend 95% certain that I would be attending Columbia next year, as it had been my top choice for years... I didn't know a lot about Brown when I applied, and the main reason I applied is that I was focused on trying to get back to the East Coast, and I had really liked Brian Mertes when I met him in 2015. When the process started, Brown was probably on the lower end of my list.

But wow... this program. I was floored. I am completely 100% convinced that it is the right place for me. Not only is it debt free (WHICH IS AMAZING), but the program itself is fucking incredible. I walked away from my interview weekend completely gobsmacked, realizing that I had learned more about me as an artist in those 3 days than I had in the past year. The other 5 artists who were part of my callback were all extraordinary and I would have been very happy if any of them had gotten in over me. In retrospect, I'm glad I got rejected from Yale because I would have said yes... and Brown may ultimately be a better fit for me. 

Here's my final breakdown:

  • Applied to 6 schools. 
  • Got first round interviews for Yale, Brown, UCSD, and Carnegie Mellon
  • Got rejected from CMU
  • Got callbacks at 5 schools: Yale, Brown, UCSD, Northwestern, and Columbia
  • Turned down my UCSD callback because I realized that I didn't want to live in San Diego for 3 years, although I loved my first round interview with them, and hope to stay in touch with Robert and Vanessa.
  • Pulled my Northwestern application after my interview weekend for a variety of reasons.
  • Got rejected from Yale
  • Got accepted into Columbia
  • Got accepted into Brown - GOING TO BROWN

I am so grateful to finally be done with this process. It was brutal and exhausting, but holy crap I get to go to an amazing school where they really see me, where their priorities are compassion, community, and equity. I honestly couldn't be happier. I also made a lot of friends throughout this process, and now have friends attending Yale, Columbia, UCSD, Northwestern, and a few other places. We're all very happy with where we wound up. As rough as this process is, I am glad I went through it, and having a place where I could vent, etc, was much needed. 

Congrats @Theater Maker @Penny Jar @forestofarden @MadamDirector @E. Karenina and everyone else who found a place next year!

But also congrats to those who made it through this process and did not... it is not easy being rejected--it really fucked me up 2 years ago, but getting into grad school isn't a sign of your success or potential as an artist. You will find other opportunities and places that will become your home. Stay strong. <3

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I'm a playwright but I'm wondering what directors think BU vs Indiana? For directors - like what attracts you -  but also maybe when you think of those programs in regards to the writers you would get to work with. BU takes a cohort of 5 every two years. Indiana takes 1 per year.  Both fully funded w living stipends etc. 

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Congrats to the latest acceptances! Such awesome news! 

Two updates:

1) Received the official rejection from Brown after they waitlisted me for the callbacks. Honestly I’m quite mad as i found out that an alternate did end up goin to callbacks and they didn’t let me know until a week after the fact... I canceled a spring break trip just in case. Ugh. 

2) I am waitlisted for CalArts, which is exciting! Given my current work situation though,  I needed to know ASAP as they are nailing down next season’s assignments... puts me in a tricky position. The debt also freaks me out even though it’s the best program for me in America. 

After chatting to @forestofarden, I have decided to apply to 2 UK schools. London holds a special place in my heart as i began my career there, co-founded a theatre, my 3 life best friends are there and have been dying to get back there but work visas were near impossible when I was there and now the border agency have opened up more... we shall see! 

Edited by per4mance
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'd like to give an update on my MFA application process. I was waitlisted for my two top schools (not including Yale of course): Brooklyn College and Columbia. I'm bummed about Brooklyn college because it's affordable, especially for residents of NYC. It would be much more financially doable and I wouldn't have to move to a new city. 

I was recently offered a slot at Columbia and I'm afraid it's going to be nearly impossible for me to afford it. My situation is probably different than others on this forum because I am in my 40s. Going into debt in your 40s is a lot different than going into debt in your 20s or early 30s. I'm spending the next week aggressively searching for funding options that will ease my burden of debt but I'm afraid there are very few, and the deadline has passed for some.

My takeaway from this process is that elite schools like Columbia are falling behind the curve when it comes to funding their arts programs. If you really want to train artists, you cannot release them into the world after graduation with $100k in debt. Unless they come from wealth, they will spend much of their lives stressing about paying off debt which can dissolve motivation to create art. And, maybe more importantly, it will prevent people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds from the benefits of an MFA. I don't know the ins and outs of what goes into running a massive university in a place as expensive as NYC but it seems like there should be no reason that rich schools do not offer better funding to arts students.

For now I'll be scrambling to see if I can get some money together. And if I can't, I'll continue the grind here in NYC! Congrats to everyone who got into schools with good funding.

 

 

Edited by Curio
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I just found out that the two people who were given offers to CalArts have accepted and paid their deposits. Thus, they won't be taking me from the waitlist. Alas... no acceptances for me. This is my last year applying.

Not meant to be....

Best of luck to all those accepted and for future applicants! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/14/2018 at 1:46 PM, Curio said:

I'd like to give an update on my MFA application process. I was waitlisted for my two top schools (not including Yale of course): Brooklyn College and Columbia. I'm bummed about Brooklyn college because it's affordable, especially for residents of NYC. It would be much more financially doable and I wouldn't have to move to a new city. 

I was recently offered a slot at Columbia and I'm afraid it's going to be nearly impossible for me to afford it. My situation is probably different than others on this forum because I am in my 40s. Going into debt in your 40s is a lot different than going into debt in your 20s or early 30s. I'm spending the next week aggressively searching for funding options that will ease my burden of debt but I'm afraid there are very few, and the deadline has passed for some.

My takeaway from this process is that elite schools like Columbia are falling behind the curve when it comes to funding their arts programs. If you really want to train artists, you cannot release them into the world after graduation with $100k in debt. Unless they come from wealth, they will spend much of their lives stressing about paying off debt which can dissolve motivation to create art. And, maybe more importantly, it will prevent people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds from the benefits of an MFA. I don't know the ins and outs of what goes into running a massive university in a place as expensive as NYC but it seems like there should be no reason that rich schools do not offer better funding to arts students.

For now I'll be scrambling to see if I can get some money together. And if I can't, I'll continue the grind here in NYC! Congrats to everyone who got into schools with good funding.

 

 

I'm actually in the exact same situation.  This is why Columbia was never even on my radar and why many excellent students don't apply there.  Being in my 40s, recently married, and with a fellow artist partner who is keen on starting a family ASAP, it's hard to take on that much debt.  I often find I'm not impressed with the work of many of their graduates.  I assume, probably wrongfully, that Columbia N+MFA Directing grads are spoiled rich kids and could afford to go there first and talent is optional.  It's also a lot of white men that come out of there.  I find the lack of diversity unappealing.  The playwrighting program has also left a bad taste in my mouth... I went to their showcase last year and the work was mediocre, although many fo the grad were older.  Probably because they saved up to go there.

The fact that someone who isn't willing or able to take on that kind fo debt is not an option makes the whole MFA thing very elitest for many schools.  I'm still a big fan of a few state schools I interviewed with but I think I'm the victim of age discrimination... many were not pleased that I was over 30 and someone inappropriately asked of I planned on having kids.  That is none of their bus9ness but when I stumbled on my answer I knew I was out.

I'm going to look at more open-minded programs for next year, many of which are PhD.  That is a longer process so I think better suited for older students who many schools label as "undesireable."

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6 hours ago, PumpkinKitty said:

I'm actually in the exact same situation.  This is why Columbia was never even on my radar and why many excellent students don't apply there.  Being in my 40s, recently married, and with a fellow artist partner who is keen on starting a family ASAP, it's hard to take on that much debt.  I often find I'm not impressed with the work of many of their graduates.  I assume, probably wrongfully, that Columbia N+MFA Directing grads are spoiled rich kids and could afford to go there first and talent is optional.  It's also a lot of white men that come out of there.  I find the lack of diversity unappealing.  The playwrighting program has also left a bad taste in my mouth... I went to their showcase last year and the work was mediocre, although many fo the grad were older.  Probably because they saved up to go there.

The fact that someone who isn't willing or able to take on that kind fo debt is not an option makes the whole MFA thing very elitest for many schools.  I'm still a big fan of a few state schools I interviewed with but I think I'm the victim of age discrimination... many were not pleased that I was over 30 and someone inappropriately asked of I planned on having kids.  That is none of their bus9ness but when I stumbled on my answer I knew I was out.

I'm going to look at more open-minded programs for next year, many of which are PhD.  That is a longer process so I think better suited for older students who many schools label as "undesireable."

I'm sorry that you experienced that. I've heard of age discrimination for Acting, but not directing. The head of directing at my undergrad preferred older people for the MFA program, as they had more life experience (which is totally understandable), and by benefit of being a UC they had funding for graduate students. 
If y

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